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February 12, 2016

It’s Not You, It’s Me: What’s Really Happening when we see the Negative in Others.

negative thoughts

Recently, while on a long run, I started to experience strain in my hips, and after talking about it with my son, I decided to jump on the mat-wagon and try practicing yoga.

I picked a place, signed up for a class and walked into the room ready to flex. But right as I entered, out of nowhere, I started to get irritated by one of the students already in the room. I wasn’t sure if it was her voice, her body language or G-d knows what.

During the class, my perception of her presence surfaced from time to time, and each time I was truly amazed by my immediate and negative reaction.

Needless to say, I walked out of yoga class gaining tension—not relaxation.

Throughout the next few days, it bothered me that I was so negatively affected by someone I didn’t know. She was a complete stranger whom I had never met before. For all I knew, she could be the next Mother Teresa, and there I was deciding that in my book, she was not a good person.

The thoughts about this experience did not go away. Why did I respond the way I did? Was it me, or her? My ego was acting up.

Then, as my overthinking subsided, it became obvious that it had nothing to do with that individual and everything to do with me.

Somehow, subconsciously, throughout the years, my mind developed a perception of who is good and who is bad, and as I meet anyone for the first time, before I get a chance to know the person, my subconscious mind jumps into action and tells me what to think.

Spending many years in recruiting did not help the situation. You see, as a headhunter, I was always under pressure to form an opinion about a candidate within minutes, and therefore mostly went with my first impression of his capabilities. Without being aware of it, I have developed a tendency to pass a quick, and often harsh, judgment on others.

I’m no angel, but without a doubt, this “occupational hazard” affected my ability to stay open-minded and trained me to be impulsive, often serving me wrong.

I’m old enough to know that we are not all made equal and there are many rotten apples out there, but let’s be patient and objective until all the cards are on the table and not take the easy way out by reacting like a robot, programmed by experiences that took place in the long gone past.

So, my here is my promise to you: Next time I catch myself passing an untimely judgment on someone I don’t know, I will remain open minded and ignore my conditioned thoughts.

For all I know, getting to know him could be a blessing in disguise.

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Author: Elie Klachkin

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Laurakargfotografie/Flickr // jnyemb/Flickr

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